True Blood has solidly been one of my favorite television series for the past few years. But I was hesitant going into the season two finale, especially after the promising second season of also-great Breaking Bad scored an epic fail.
So how did the season two finale tie together a promising season of True Blood? Was it effective or did it suffer a similar fate to Breaking Bad? If you’re game for spoilers, check out my thoughts after the jump.
Alan Ball really delivered at the closing of his second season. This is a guy who knows exactly what to answer and what to leave dangling over the audience’s head going into the next season of the show.
[complete aside before continuing: this episode, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'”, was directed by Michael Cuesta, who directed the inaugural episodes of Dexter and a pair of gripping dramas in L.I.E. and 12 & Holding. I have to give him credit, because everything he does is pretty awesome.]
The second season finale saw Sookie, Bill and Sam finally bring an end to MaryAnne. But this was not without consequences – as everyone in Bon Tomps struggles to accept the mysterious blackout, especially Eggs. The troubled Eggs goes to Sookie to figure out what happened during his zombiedom, only to find out that he was responsible for cutting out the hearts of MaryAnne’s victims. This leads to a scene surely to play a role next season, where Eggs comes at Andy Bellefleur with a knife and is dropped by Jason, who scampers off panicked as Andy covers for the shooting. Also, we learn that Jessica Hamby has become a feeder off her conflicted feelings from attacking Hoyt’s mother. And as our obligatory season-ending cliffhanger, we see Bill dragged off by an unknown assailant as Sookie is in the restroom pondering his marriage proposal.
Let’s address the cliffhanger first, because it’s the primary question on everyone’s mind. Clearly, the writers want us to think that Eric was involved in the capture. Not only does Eric have the motivation to get Bill out of the way so that he can have Sookie to his own, but the Vampire Queen instructed him to “take care” of Bill so that it is never revealed that she had been supplying Lafayette with the V he is selling back to users. With both emotional and political motivations, Eric is easily the primary suspect here.
But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it? True Blood writers love throwing curveballs. And let’s not forget that Bill still has a pissed-off ex-lover out there in Lorena, as well as enemies-by-association in the Fellowship of the Sun. It should be interesting to see how this plays out. I could see a scenario where Eric is not really the captor, and Sookie turns to him for help finding Bill so subsequently we’re led to believe he’s involved as they grow closer.
Other lingering questions include the status of Jessica and Hoyt’s relationship – whether or not Jessica will continue feeding out of guilt and self-loathing, whether Hoyt’s mother will accept Jessica, etc. We’ll also keep an eye on Tara, who surely won’t be convinced of Andy’s explanation in regards to Eggs’ death. And Jason, despite always trying to be the tough guy, might be fragile heading into the third season, fresh off killing Eggs.
Overall, I felt that the episode was an appropriate close to a very good season. The season was a bit too repetitive to be great, too many blurred-out orgyfests when we clearly got the picture already, but it still managed to elevate the entertainment level from the first season and highlight the characters as well as ever. That’s what I think really makes True Blood work: the characters. The scripting isn’t particularly great, but the characters within the plot are. Even when they only get ~2 minutes screen time per episode, people like Jason, Andy, Sam, Lafayette, Eric, Arlene, Terry and Pam make the absolute most out of it. They’re all distinct, complete characters as well, a rarity when considering the volume at hand.
Season three won’t roll around until summer 2010, so we’ll have to hang tight for a year to see what’s up. Until then, be sure and catch season four of Dexter (Showtime) starting Sunday, for all your quality pay cable series needs.